Mary Poppins to take NZ bow

Long wait almost over for Auckland fans

Last updated 05:00 18/10/2012
Fairfax NZ

Mary Poppins: The Musical is playing at the Civic Theatre in Auckland.

Mary Poppins
Peter Meecham / Fairfax NZ
MEET N'GREET: The cast of Mary Poppins: The Musical performed for the media yesterday.

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After months of waiting, Mary Poppins officially opens in Auckland tonight with a red carpet affair.

The star-studded audience will see the record-breaking stage production in all its glory, including Broadway star Rachel Wallace as the magical nanny.

Based on PL Travers' beloved books and the 1964 Walt Disney film, this production is one of the biggest musicals ever to come to Auckland, with a run set to stretch out until December.

Along with the songs everybody loves, including Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Just a Spoonful of Sugar, Mary Poppins features groundbreaking set and costume designs, from a crew of theatre greats like Richard and Robert Sherman, George Stiles, Anthony Drewe and Bob Crowley.

Mary Poppins quick facts:

- Mary Poppins: The Musical was written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellows.

- It took 10 years from theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh acquiring the rights to Travers' books in 1993 to the first workshop of the production.

- The production's debut was at the Bristol Hippodrome on September 15, 2004.

- It opened at Prince Edward Theatre in London's West End on December 15, 2004, and at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre on November 16, 2006.

- The show sparked controversey after producers Cameron Mackintosh and Thomas Schumacher banned children below 3 years old from entering the theatre, deeming the show too scary for younger kids.

- Mary Poppins has been nominated for nine Sir Laurence Olivier Awards and seven Tony Awards.

- Mary Poppins is the 24th longest running show in Broadway history

- To date, the show has grossed over $731 million worldwide, with audiences totalling more than 10 million people.

- In Australia, the production was seen by more than 1.35 million people. In July 2010 it opened in Melbourne playing to sell-out audiences, before continuing around Australia until June this year.

- The show has a full-time crew of 32, plus 26 locals brought in for the run at the Civic Theatre

- It took 16 sea containers to transport the sets and costumes from Perth to Auckland

- The first ever Spanish-language production of the muscial will open in Mexico City on November 14 and talks are underway for a French version.

- Only 11 actresses have played Mary since the musical was created almost 10 years ago.

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